Why Grace Tame has launched an extraordinary attack on autistic dating show Love on the Spectrum: ‘Patronising advice’
- Tame released her book The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner: A Memoir last week
- She described how reality dating show Love on the Spectrum made her ‘wince’
- Tame said people’s differences were being sold as a commercial product
- ‘I think about the TV show Love on the Spectrum and I wince,’ Tame, 27, said
- She has been diagnosed with high-functioning autism and ADHD
Grace Tame has unleashed on the reality dating show that centres around those with autism, Love on the Spectrum, admitting it makes her ‘wince’.
The 27-year-old, who has autism and ADHD herself, took aim at the series in her recently released book The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner: A Memoir.
She criticised how the show was a ‘novelty’ for those without the disorder, and said people’s differences had been sold as a ‘commercial product’.
‘The stereotype of people with autism being emotionless or unempathetic – at least in my experience – couldn’t be further from the truth,’ she said.
‘I think about the TV show Love on the Spectrum and I wince.
‘Whatever educational benefit that show brings in offering a glimpse of different representations of people with autism, it doesn’t outweigh the ultimate, inevitable cost of selling those people’s differences – their struggles – as a commercial product; as entertainment.’
Grace Tame has unleashed on the reality dating show that centres around those with autism, Love on the Spectrum, admitting it makes her ‘wince’
The 27-year-old, who has autism and ADHD herself, took aim at the series in her recently released book The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner: A Memoir. Tame is pictured with UNSW criminologist Michael Salter
Tame, the 2021 Australian of the Year for her role in advocating for sexual assault victims, said that Love on the Spectrum, and similar shows like it, meant those with autism became ‘pitied’ and ‘othered’ by the viewers.
Tame was diagnosed with high-functioning autism while living in the US after finishing high school – the place she was raped and groomed by her 58-year-old maths teacher.
‘The autism diagnosis was certainly a vital piece of the puzzle,’ Grace earlier told the ABC.
‘But it’s also very confronting. You know, I already felt there was something wrong with me.’
Love on the Spectrum, a show available on Netflix and the ABC, which looks at the dating lives of those on the autism spectrum, is in Tame’s mind a ‘novelty’ for the neurotypical audience
Love on the Spectrum, a show available on Netflix and the ABC, looks at the dating lives of those on the autism spectrum and is, in Tame’s mind, a ‘novelty’ for the neurotypical audience.
‘The creator of Love on the Spectrum, who isn’t autistic, has made a show about the lives of autistic people, from which he reaps the bulk of the financial and commercial benefits,’ she said in her memoir.
‘Add to the fact that the autistic people are counselled by a non-autistic therapist who gives them patronising advice, and ultimately it’s the autistic people – who I am not criticising at all to be clear – who are the subliminal punchline with a downtrodden, compromised voice.’
She said that while it was more representative of the disorder than other shows, it ‘reinforced’ the notion that those who are different need to conform.
Tame said the show meant those with autism were made to be feel ‘pitied’
Tame’s memoir, released last Tuesday, centred around the abuse she suffered at the hands of her teacher Nicolaas Bester at her school in Hobart.
She was just 15 when the sexual abuse began.
In 2011, the Bester was sentenced to two years and 10 months behind bars after pleading guilty to ‘maintaining a relationship with a young person under 17’ and possession of child exploitation material.
Bester served one year and nine months in jail and went on to complain his conviction had cost him ‘everything’ including his reputation in the community.
Grace Tame’s The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner: A Memoir is available now at a retail price of $49.99.